#64: Guild Of Calamitous Intent, Mazda RX-7 There's always one car at a LeMons race that finishes a fair number of laps, yet avoids my camera with great effectiveness. This Mazda was that car at LeMons Texas. Sorry about that, Mazda racers, but at least I got two shots of the car!
#66: Rum Runners, Chevrolet Malibu Of all the cars that managed to run most of the race, the Rum Runners' 1980 Malibu was the slowest. By far the slowest, with a best lap time of 1:32.487. And yet… it finished 24th! Let that be a lesson to you wannabe LeMons racers currently rejecting really cool cars because they're "too slow." This dead-stock, 6-cylinder slug finished in the top third of the race, leaving all manner of so-called fast cars in its flat-black dust. If the Rum Runners had sprung for tires a few grades stickier than the rock-hard Kirkland whitewalls they were running, I suspect they'd have had a shot at the top 10.
#67: Cupcake Racing, Ford Thunderbird This Thunderbird was nearly as slow as the Rum Runners' Malibu, but that appears to have been the result of multiple mechanical maladies. A 49th place for a car trailing a huge plume of smoke and the clatter of an engine about to explode ain't bad at all!
#68: The Bum Steers And The MooPoo Crew, Mazda Miata I'm going to go on record here stating that I don't think these guys deserved the People's Curse. That said, I don't know which car I would have picked; usually, there's an obvious near-landslide Curse winner, a team full of super-aggressive drivers that don't make any effort to make friends in the pits, but such was not the case in Texas. Instead, the vote went to the team seen as the worst cheaters… but these guys weren't even close to that distinction. Anyway, before their Miata got destroyed, the MooPoos were very fast (1:18.400 best lap) and were obvious contenders for the win.
#69: Los Diablos Racing Team, Chevrolet Camaro If we had given out an award for Team Having The Most Fun, it would have gone to this sombrero-wearin', barbecuin', ZZ-Top-listenin', Camaro-drivin' bunch, no doubt about it. When we saw the "Billy Gibbons For President" sticker on their car- which was powered by an extremely suspect engine out of a Carrera Panamericana car- we knew who would be getting the Billy Gibbons penalty… and that's exactly how it sorted out. And, as almost always happens with hot-rodded engines at LeMons races, they threw a rod. They're saving the beard as a trophy, which they'll put on the shelf right next to their Least Horrible GM Product award.
#70: Tetanus Neon, Dodge Neon Neons make excellent LeMons cars; they're cheap, junkyard parts are absurdly plentiful, and they're really fast on the track. The Tetanus Neon went pretty well- 1:19.944 best lap time- but broke some parts, still placing a pretty good 37th. We were impressed by the wing they built- apparently from a rotting wooden pallet- on Saturday night. There's a lot of useful info for prospective LeMons racers on their site.
#71: Latch Key Kids, Dodge Neon The Latch Key Kids team was the one I thought was the favorite to take the win at this race; these LeMons veterans finished second at Thunderhill and they always run fast (1:16.581 best lap) and clean. In fact, we kept telling guys whining about their "unfair" black flags to "Watch the green Neon- see how it never gets black flags? What are those guys doing that you aren't?" Then they picked up a 15-minute penalty late on Sunday, and came in 4th. Would they have won without the penalty? The winning FX16 had 20 more laps than their Neon, so probably not… but it would have been close. Read their side of the story at the Chia Neon site.
#73: The Big Outfit Racing, Toyota MR2 Only 26 laps, beset by mechanical problems for every one of them. Even Toyotas can be unreliable when they're this cheap.
#76: The Bronze, Ford Mustang These guys had a couple things going for them. First, they took the name of the cops in Mad Max, then they built the most redneck fake blower in the history of racing. 36th place.
#77: MusTank Racing Inc, LLC P.O.S., Ford Mustang We've seen plenty of crypto-tank themes at LeMons, but the MusTank guys had the best turret yet. Their car went 'round the track in a hurry (1:19.166 best lap), but they were very regular visitors to the penalty box. 42nd place.
#81: Punisher Racing, Chevrolet Caprice The Punisher Caprice finished a very close third at the LeMons South race, and they ran an excellent 1:17.699 best lap at Houston. However, the Punishers got punished pretty heavily by the black-flag-waving MSR guys (getting the Hillary Clinton from us at one point), and they finished 20th.
#82: Team Iron Butt Racing, Toyota Supra This team got hit with a big 50-lap BS penalty right away, for showing up with an extremely racy-looking Supra and insufficient documentation to back up their story. We felt kind of bad about that a few minutes later, when they blew up the engine while circling the track in the transponder test. Searches of local junkyards proved fruitless, and the Iron Butt Supra never returned to the track.
#88: Legend Of Balki Bartokomous Racing, Nissan 240SX How is it possible to get a 240SX for under 500 bucks? They're sought after by the drift types out here, but prices must be lower in Texas. Anyway, the LOBBR Nissan had its share of problems- and penalties- but it was still moving when the race ended. 51st place. Check out their site here.
#89: Lost In The Dark, Mazda MX6 From a distance, this car looked like the two red Integras, but the reliability just wasn't up to Honda standards and the MX6 finished 65th.
#90: Overseas Group LTD, Toyota Celica This Celica convertible looked really nice, as in "too nice to beat up in a LeMons race," but what the heck- put it on the track! 59th place.
#91: HighBrow Ghetto, Lexus LS400 It was great to see a Lexus LS400 in the race, especially one with a Pinzgauer support vehicle. The HighBrow Ghetto car wasn't the fastest thing out there, but it had the most class… and it was the basis for the extra-cruel Lexus Starter Removal Challenge penalty. You can see the team's collection of race photos here.
#92: El Toro Loco, Ford Taurus SHO Winner of the Most Heroic Fix award! The Taurus SHO is one of those cars that's perfect for LeMons- fast, weird-handling, and supported by a fanatical group of aficionados. And, of course, SHOs always blow up at LeMons, which adds to the fun. The Toro Loco SHO didn't disappoint in that last category, and the team didn't miss a beat; they were on the horn to a local SHO freak who had two engines in his driveway. Fine, one of the engines was a total hot-rodded cheater that never would have made it past the BS inspection, but we didn't care. They got a 43rd-place ranking, but their best lap time of 1:18.818 proves that the SHO is fast on the track. Avoid blowing up and the race is yours, SHO guys!
#95: Grocery Getter, Dodge Neon Here's a team that would have benefited from the advice in the LeMons Cheater's Guide. First they admitted they worked at a Neon shop, then they couldn't provide plausible documentation for their obviously hot-rodded Neon's shiny new parts. We gave them a bunch of penalty laps, then turned their car into a Civic. Watch out, Civic guys- we're turning one of your cars into a Neon next time!
#96: Purple Pin Ball Lefty, Dodge Neon The Purple Pin Ball Neons were pretty quick out there, and for good reason- the owner of the Eddie Griffin Enzo was on the team. Imagine getting out of your Enzo and stepping into… a sub-$500 Neon? We saw it happen!
#97: Purple Pin Ball Righty, Dodge Neon The "righty" Purple Pin Ball Neon was a little more consistent than the lefty, and thus finished an awesome 5th place. That's right, two Neons in the top ten!
#98: Kung Fu & The Fu King Racers, Toyota Paseo These guys were contending for the Most Redneck Fix award, after they decided they might as well fix their trashed main bearings by packing them with JB Weld. Hey, the hot engine will help the JB to cure? What could possibly go wrong? As it turned out, JB Welded bearings are good for 10 laps! 62nd place.
#99: Race Hard Race Ugly, BMW 325iS Another BMW! This one came in 31st; perhaps the metal-shavings-and-tequila treatment we gave the engine had something to do with that.
Yeehaw It's Texas Racing Action And here are some LeMons pack action shots to wrap up the Uber Gallery.